Russian authorities accused him of having received a ‘memory pen’, which allegedly “contained the complete list of secret service workers”. Whelan has denied all charges and describes the case as a “political kidnapping”.
A Russian appeals court on Monday rejected the appeal of US prisoner Paul Whelan against the decision to refuse his transfer request to serve his 16-year sentence in the United States. Paul Whelan was convicted of espionage.
The press service of the fourth chamber of the appeal court in Nizhny Novgorod told EFE news agency that judge Nikolai Volkov has confirmed the decision of the supreme court of the Republic of Mordovia, where Whelan is serving a sentence of 16 years in prison, that in September he did not accept the American’s defense request.
Lawyers for the American, a former marine, said they would appeal the sentence to a court of cassation and would not rule out appealing to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).
Whelan was arrested on December 28, 2018, by agents of the Federal Security Service (FSB, ex-KBG) at a Moscow hotel for alleged “spying activities” on behalf of the United States.
Russian authorities accused him of having received a ‘memory pen’ from an acquaintance, which allegedly “contained the complete list of secret service workers”.
Whelan has denied all charges and described the case as a “political kidnapping”, while his family assured him that the American traveled to Moscow as a guest at a wedding.
The Attorney General indicated at Monday’s hearing that the American, who also has British, Irish, and Canadian nationality, belonged to “Department of Defense intelligence personnel and tried to obtain data on students from the Federal Service’s academy of security”.
Whelan’s lawyer, Vladimir Zherebenkov, told the press that the former marine had received false information about FSB academy students because there was data in the memory pen of people “who don’t exist”, suggesting that it was a trap.
Currently, seventeen US citizens, many of them dual citizenship, are held in Russian prisons, according to a list by the Russian Federal Prison Service.
Whelan’s lawyer said on Monday that there are no negotiations between Russia and the United States on this matter.
Source: with agencies